Guild Wars 2 Writing And Immersion: Superb

I’ve played Guild Wars 2 for one week now, and I continue to be impressed every day. I’ve played my usual, same-old MMO for so long that I’d forgotten how real fun felt.

Today I went on a guided history tour in the human capital city (Divinity’s Reach.) I took the opportunity to get my “walk” hotkey set up and learned some things about Kryta political history.

I also realized that the Asian looks in the character creator are explained by Cantha, which was a GW1 expansion after I quit playing it. Kryta is a melting pot situation.

I really, really like the character naming setup in GW2. You’re allowed multiple names with spaces. So if “Robert” is taken, you can try “Sir Robert” or “Robert Ross” or “Sir Robert Of Beartown”. This scheme is a boon for roleplaying.

Maybe you want to be a monk, so you’ll want “Brother Robert” or something. The hard part is trying to determine whether the honorific “Sir” is even appropriate, or if it’s supposed to be “Ser”, or if you should be a “Chief Engineer” or “Mistress” depending on your race, or just skip the whole thing because it’s too pretentious and isn’t you.

I’m so impressed by the game writing. GW2 delivers a starting story that is personal, and reasons to defend that beseiged city, explained in a way that is believable. You get a feeling that things are at stake, at risk.

Other games I’ve posted about lately (i.e. Secret World and Neverwinter) failed to provide you with a friend in the game, a “Smiling Jack”, someone to make you feel welcome and give you a connection. Some of the GW2 races start you right off with selecting a friend or sibling that will play a part in your story.

Human characters also select a deity. Unlike Neverwinter, which (iirc from beta, it may be different or changed) only describes the deities and lets you pick one, the GW2 writing makes it personal through the writing.

For example: “Melandru … can be found in every harvest and every flower. She smiles upon those, like me, who have an affinity for animals. I am a follower of Melandru.” Personal. This works.

I’m not far into the personal story plots, but so far with two races, I’ve noticed a classic pattern of writing good fiction, as described and recommended by Jack Bickham et. al.:

  • Hero has a goal.
  • Hero fails to achieve goal, suffering a setback.
  • Hero has to come up with another plan.
  • Another setback; the stakes get higher and higher.

My new character, Shar Katzdottir, is a half-Norn, a bastard daughter of a Norn fortune-teller who spread her stockinged cards during hard times for a wealthy Elonian. Shar killed another client who made her mother disappear. She fled the city and lived in the Kryta wild for a time, learning intuitively the ways of her Norn heritage and communing with the cats as a Ranger.

When Shar dared return to the city out of loneliness, she lived on the streets until she befriended Quinn, who gave her a bed to sleep in. “This is her story” as the GW2 writing says. This is good writing with a brilliant economy of style. I’m looking forward to more.

In other news:

In other news, the CCP Eve Fanfest was last week, and they revealed some World of Darkness things. WoD News is the best source of info. Politics. Backstabbing. Fashion, and some sort of follower crafting system maybe like TOR. You’re a vampire queen. You don’t want to darn stockings or do embroidery.

The names Edward and Bella were also announced to be banned. CCP has a modest team of 70 people on WoD now, and the release won’t be before 2015. This makes fang-banging kitties a little sad. For perspective, Blizzard’s new MMO, the “Titan” project, has 150 people on it now, per rumors.

We are expected to hear more about Blizzard’s Titan this year, which is slated to test in 2014, and possibly release. The best current situation sum-up I’ve seen is over at Titan Focus.


About Silverangel View all posts by Silverangel

2 responses to “Guild Wars 2 Writing And Immersion: Superb

  • The Dancing Hare

    I really wish I liked GW2 more than I did. On paper it seems like I would, and there are a lot of things I really do like about it, but… I don’t know. Something’s missing. The few times I do log in, I get bored quickly, part of it is newbiness — not knowing how to do anything or where to go, but that’s not all of it. I can’t really put a finger on it.

    • Jackie

      For me, it has become a lack of world immersion. The main quest lines are fine, but they are spaced like 3 levels apart, so you have to level. Without quests to tell the stories of the areas, something is missing You can roam around doing events and hearts and things, but it’s not the same. I am stuck at about L40, I honestly haven’t played in the last week.

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